NVP response to “Big Data, Big Blunders — WSJ”

Mar 15, 2013


We really enjoyed your article “Big Data, Big Blunders” this week. Having worked with Fortune 100 companies for years to corral their data assets for insight, we so often see the promises of vendor hype obscure the real risks of failure. Your factors are a great reminder of approaches to avoid, and we use all of these with our clients.

However, we had different results about failure rates of Big Data initiatives in our survey of Fortune 500 companies last year. We are finding that Big Data initiatives are much more successful than previous IT fads (CRM, Data Warehousing, Web Services, Cloud, etc.)–most companies are planning to increase their investments over the next 3 years. We think this is for 3 reasons:

1. 85% of our respondents said big data initiatives were sponsored jointly by IT and the business, and this is a necessary success criteria in your article. Most of the failures (in our experience) happen when IT sponsors Big Data without a business partner.

2. Big Data is quick to setup and test its value. Several top insurers and banks have setup and used big data in 3 months, and in most cases it delivered on its promise of faster, better, cheaper, by a factor of 100 or more. This is different from the previous fads that take 2-3 years to implement and deliver value.

3. A chronic problem for many businesses is just getting answers to basic questions—not deep data mining. A lot of the big data hype is around phenomenal new analytics, but there’s a big unmet need in just accelerating Time-To-Answer (TTA). Some surprisingly simple design patterns can provide access to data and insights in hours or days, where previous approaches would take months or years.

Thanks again for your article. [Original article linked here.]


Paul S. Barth, PhD
Managing Partner
NewVantage Partners

Prithwi Thakuria
Big Data Practice Lead


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